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Virtualization in Xen 3.0

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Virtualization has existed for over 40 years. Back in the 1960s, IBM developed virtualization support on a Mainframe. Many virtualization projects are available for UNIX/Linux and other operating systems, including VMware, FreeBSD Jail, coLinux, Microsoft's Virtual PC and Solaris's Containers and Zones.

The problem with these virtualization solutions is low performance. The Xen Project, however, offers impressive performance results--close to native--and this is one of its key advantages. Another impressive feature is Live Migration, which I discussed in a previous article. After much anticipation, Version 3.0 of Xen recently was released, and it is the focus of this article.

The main goal of Xen is achieving better utilization of computer resources and server consolidation through paravairtualization and virtual devices. Here, we discuss how Xen 3.0 implements these ideas. We also investigate the new VT-x processors from Intel, which have built-in support for virtualization, and their integration into Xen.

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